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Changes to Facebook’s algorithm – what you need to know

Facebook is making changes so users see more posts from friends and family in their newsfeeds and less from brands and publishers.

Previously, signals such as the number of likes/reactions, comments and shares a post received were used to determine whether it would show in a user’s newsfeed.

Now Facebook will also take into account the level of two-way interaction a post generates amongst users. Posts that attract high levels of interaction are more likely to show in a user’s newsfeed than those that don’t.

Facebook’s Head of News, Adam Mosseri, says these are posts that “inspire back-and-forth discussion in the comments and posts that you might want to share and react to – whether that’s a post from a friend seeking advice, a friend asking for recommendations for a trip, or a news article or video prompting lots of discussion”.

Due to posts from friends and family taking precedence over those from brand pages the organic reach of posts shared by brands is likely to decrease.

Brands that publish content that generates strong engagement (reactions/comments/shares/conversation) will continue to do well, whereas brands that share content people don’t engage with may see a decrease in organic reach.

At this stage the full impact of this change for brands using Facebook is unclear, but here are some actions New Zealand tourism companies can take to prepare:

  1. Create and share quality content

Content that drives social engagement or conversation on Facebook will be prioritised for news feed distribution, so brands should look to share content that will resonate well with their audience and result in an engagement/conversation. You should avoid overtly asking people to comment as this type of behaviour will result in your post being deprioritised. Aim to create and share content that will spark a conversation or interaction between people on Facebook. Tourism operators who are on the ground have access to some amazing opportunities to capture content that is truly unique and that can engage a social media audience. Don’t be afraid to snap a photo or record a short video on your phone – it doesn’t always have to be highly polished. The goal is to come up with something that will ‘wow’ your audience into engaging with the content.

  1. Utilise offline activity to encourage customers to share on social media

Facebook will be prioritising posts shared by friends. Encourage your customers to upload photos or videos when they have experienced your product or service and to tag your Facebook Page. You could utilise your point of sale collateral, newsletters/brochures, and staff members to encourage customers to share content about your brand via Facebook.

  1. Investigate using Facebook Advertising

With organic reach likely to decrease with changes to the news feed algorithm, brands should (if they are not already) look at utilising Facebook Ads to reach their Facebook audience.

  1. Leverage larger networks such as 100% Pure New Zealand on Facebook

Tourism New Zealand focuses its social media efforts on encouraging advocacy from travellers. We’re always looking for great content to share with our community of over 2.8m people worldwide. Tag ‘100% Pure New Zealand’ in your posts so we can see your content and potentially share it via our Facebook Page.

Visit Tourism New Zealand’s Facebook Page here: https://www.facebook.com/purenewzealand/